Every few months, a freshly-customized Moto Guzzi rolls out of Axel Budde’s Hamburg workshop. And you know what to expect: it will be stripped back, elegant, immaculately finished and powerful.
Axel has hit a groove, and it’s a wonderful one. This Le Mans, his seventh custom build, is nicknamed “Caffettiera d’oro”—meaning golden coffee machine. “But ‘caffettiera’ can be a nickname for an old or derelict vehicle, too,” he says. “I like the double meaning.”
The donor bike was a Le Mans Mark III, which already had Mark IV heads and bigger carbs. Axel has upgraded the motor still further, taking it out to 1040cc with new cylinders. With the help of the tuning company HTMoto, he’s treated the Mark III to a dynamically balanced crank, a more sporting cam, twin-spark heads, electronic ignition and a bespoke matte black exhaust system.
A lot of work went into the hand-made alloy parts, particularly the curvaceous tank. It’s a new design: “I wanted to create a classic, elegant tank,” Axel says, “one that adds emphasis to the Guzzi’s unique geometry and shape.” (Replica tanks and seat units are available for sale if you wish to upgrade your own Le Mans.)
With engine output heading well beyond the stock 70-or-so rear wheel horsepower, Axel decided to upgrade the brake cylinders and hoses, and added progressive-rate springs to the forks. He also installed new rear shocks, custom-built by Ikon to his own specification. The original wiring was dumped in favor of a minimal custom loom, hooked up to a simple Motogadget tachometer. The lovely spoked wheels are Morad.
If you’d like to see this Le Mans in the metal, it’ll be on display at the Custombike 2012 show in Bad Salzuflen this weekend, along with Axel’s race bike, at the booth of the “Ace Cafe.”